Tag Archives: Human rights

ACTION ALERT: Sign the Straight Ally Pledge

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We need your help – sign the Straight Ally Pledge TODAY!  Tell our City Council you support a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville, FL that bans discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace or at school.

Ally Profile: The Hamiltons

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Pastor Vicki Hamilton and her husband, William, are both 2002 TEEM graduates from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkley, California. She was ordained in April 2002.  They were called to St. John’s in January 2000 while membership was on the decline.  The congregation has changed dramatically and has become ethnically diverse.  They shepherd a community, proud to be a congregation striving to love and respect one another.

Pastor Vicki has served within the church, and the Jacksonville community, for many years. Her service includes: member of the taskforce for the formation of the ELCA race, ethnicity and culture social statement, planning committee member for the new women’s organization, two-term executive board member for Women of the ELCA, and church-wide board member of the African American Lutheran Association (AALA).  She has served as small group leader at region 9 Bishop School, Assistant to the Bishop for the African American Strategy, synod’s leadership task force, outreach committee, anti-racism team and candidacy committee. She has also served ecumenically as keynote speaker with Church Women United, the Via De Christo movement, Beat the Odds (a community program helping and encouraging young teen parents to finish school) and has conducted numerous workshops on self-esteem and empowerment.

William and Vicki wrote this beautiful letter to the Jacksonville community, urging the importance of why we all need to join the LGBT community and pledge our support for the passage of a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance.


We are the Hamilton’s, William and Victoria. We have been married for 44 years.  Our family consists of three adult children and five grandchildren. We have worked hard at raising them to be compassionate and caring people. We try our best to set examples for them, and others, by holding integrity and care for God’s creations above all else.

For twenty years as a military family, we sacrificed long separations to insure that Americans could be treated fairly and just. That personal safety and the ability to live your life in freedom were paramount. That Justice in being able for all to work and make a sustainable livelihood matters to my family.

After retirement my family continued to fight the causes of injustices. We exchanged our military uniform for a new one. We where chosen to put on the collar and yoke of ordained ministry. Still called, equipped and sent to help fight for those same protections to insure no one is living on the margins of our society.

We could not in good conscience stand by while there is the slightest possibility that one of our LGBT Sisters and Brothers can face discrimination in jobs and housing. No matter what your belief system says, this is a Human Rights Issue. Everyone has the right to make a sustainable living and not stand in fear of loosing their job for who they are or perceived to be in their sexual orientation. Qualifications should be the determining factor.

A quote from The Rev. Martin Luther (1483-1546):  “There comes a time when one must take a position that is not safe nor political nor popular but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right”.**

We are out of the closet on this issue, won’t you join us?

Rev’s William and Victoria Hamilton, Pastors

St. John’s Lutheran Church, ELCA

** Editor’s Note: While we most often associate this quote with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his speech, Delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C., on 31 March 1968his writings and teachings were often influenced by those of his name sake, thus the Hamiltons choose to give rightful credit to the originator of the thought.

Ally Profile: Brennan Campa

Brennan 09.11.13

My name is Brennan Campa.  I am a 14 year-old who attends Paxon, School for Advanced Studied in Jacksonville, FL.  I enjoy playing soccer, basketball and being with my friends. This effort is important because I believe no matter what race, gender sexuality etc. someone is, people should all have equal rights and they should be treated with respect. Everybody should have equal opportunities and unfortunately in our society today, that just is not the case.  I am a straight ally because I want my mother to have the same rights as everyone else. 

Straight Ally Ad Campaign

Contact: Chevara Orrin                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone: 678.637.9041                                                   August 24, 2013
Email: wearestraightallies@gmail.com

Straight Ally Ad Campaign Features Prominent Community Leaders

 JACKSONVILLE, FL – Three local community advocates Chevara Orrin, Dan Bagan and Laura Riggs have created a straight ally ad campaign to raise awareness and encourage support of the Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance. The ordinance, which was rejected last fall by City Council, would have expanded the city’s human rights ordinance to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

The ad’s tagline, “We Are Straight Allies…because nothing is more important than our humanity” has drawn together a diverse group of Jacksonville’s citizens from the education, faith, arts, military, sports, and corporate sectors. Participants range from a teenager to a retired military officer to a pastor of the Lutheran church. City leaders featured include Pat Geraghty, CEO – Florida Blue, Hope McMath, Executive Director – Cummer Museum and Gardens, and Steve Halverson, President & CEO – Haskell Company.  Pat Geraghty says he’s happy to come out as a Straight Ally because he’s seen discrimination in many forms throughout his life.  He says, “Discrimination in any form is wrong.”

“This struggle is an intrinsic human rights issue. I have been a champion for the rights of the marginalized since I marched on tiny, six year-old legs to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee years before the nation celebrated the King holiday,” says lead creative Chevara Orrin. “Today, 50 years after the historic March on Washington, we are once again standing at the crossroads of freedom and equality. Each day, communities across our nation are joining a growing list of cities that support LGBT equality. It’s time for Jacksonville to pass a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance and become a leader in this effort.”

Orrin, Bagan and Riggs want the campaign to serve as a call to action. “I am inspired by the divine power in all human beings to create the world they live in.  When faith and laws are wed, we divorce ourselves of our humanity.  We can create a happier world through love and celebration of our differences.” Riggs says, “The greatest gifts we can offer this initiative are joy and our devotion to seeing all beings treated equally.”

The website, www.wearestraightallies.com, features several ways for everyday citizens to become involved including signing a petition to support of the Human Rights Ordinance or contacting Jacksonville City Council members to voice support for the passage of the ordinance.


Pastor Hamilton 09.11.13  Johanna 09.11.13  Brennan 09.11.13

Who Are We?

We are Straight Allies.

We are mothers and fathers teaching our children to love and accept each other’s intrinsic humanness. We are sisters and brothers holding the hands of our siblings with great pride in who they are. We are co-workers who want to see our colleagues treated fairly, free from bias and discrimination. We are young and old who believe that we live in the land of the free, where all people are created equal. We are clergy and missionaries shepherding our congregations to welcome everyone into their hearts, openly and without judgment. We are veterans who have fought for the freedom of others across the ocean and who will continue to fight for basic human rights on our own native soil. We are citizens who believe in everyone’s right to pursue their own happiness.

We are Straight Allies.

From Stonewall to the demise of DOMA, we are the family and friends of Harvey Milk, Marco McMillian, Matthew Shepard, Ebony Whitaker and Amanda Gonzalez-Andular. We are following in the legacy of other great Movements: Abolitionist Movement, Women’s Suffrage, Eastern European Liberation Movement, Farm Workers, the Civil Rights, and the Feminist movements. We are helping lead the growing chorus in this fight.

We are Straight Allies…because nothing is more important than our humanity.